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Characteristics of the Population


The major portion of the information on the population of the United States, compiled from the Censuses of Population and Housing of 1950, is presented in this volume. Part 1, the United States Summary, contains three chapters previously published as separate bulletins. Chapter A recapitulates the statistics on the size and distribution of the total population of the United States (originally published in Series P-A U. S. Summary bulletin); Chapter B presents statistics on the general characteristics of the population (originally published in Series P-B U. S. Summary bulletin); and Chapter C presents detailed data on the characteristics of the population of the United States (originally published in Series P-C U. S. Summary bulletin). Most of the data that are presented for the United States in this volume have also been presented for each State, as well as for many of the constituent parts of the State, in the State parts of the volume.

The statistics in Chapter A relate to the total population of the United States and its urban and rural parts, places classified by size, regions, divisions, and the States and their urban and rural parts, counties, minor civil divisions, incorporated and unincorporated places, urbanized areas, standard metropolitan areas, State economic areas, economic subregions, and the metropolitan districts of 1940. Selected statistics are also included for the Territories, possessions, etc.

Most of the tables in this volume are devoted to the presentation of information on the characteristics of the population. Statistics on the general characteristics, contained in Chapter B, include data on urban-rural residence, age, sex, race, nativity, citizenship, country of birth, school enrollment, years of school completed, marital status, residence in 1949, employment status, occupation, industry, class of worker, and family income. In Chapter C, information on most of these characteristics is presented again but in greater detail. The statistics in Chapter C include crossclassifications of age with race, nativity, citizenship, marital status, relationship to household head, education, and employment status; the occupational and industrial attachments of the labor force; and personal income. In addition to data for the United States as a whole, statistics on the characteristics of the population are also shown for the four regions of the country (Northeast, North Central, South, and West), and for the nine groups of States designated as "geographic divisions"; certain summaries for States, and for standard metropolitan areas and cities of 100,000 inhabitants or more, are also included. In most of the tables for the United States, figures are shown separately for the urban, ruralnotfarm, and rural-farm population. Selected statistics are also presented for Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.


Volume IV, Special Reports

Additional reports on the characteristics of the population will be published in Volume IV of the 1950 Census of Population. These reports relate mainly to the United States and regions with, in some cases, a few tables for States and large standard metropolitan areas and cities. They cover the following subjects: Employment Characteristics, Occupational and Industrial Characteristics, Characteristics of Families, Marital Status, Institu

tional Population, Nativity and Parentage, Nonwhite Population by Race, Persons of Spanish Surname, Puerto Ricans in Continental United States, State of Birth, Mobility of the Population, Characteristics by Size of Place, Education, and Fertility.

1950 Census of Housing Reports

In addition to the reports on population, the Bureau of the Census is presenting a separate group of reports on housing from the Seventeenth Decennial Census. Housing Volume I provides statistics on the general characteristics of housing, and Housing Volume II provides statistics relating characteristics of households to housing characteristics.

Preliminary Sample Data From the 1950 Census

Preliminary sample figures on characteristics of the population of the United States from the 1950 Census of Population have been published in the Series PC-7 reports. The preliminary figures presented in the Series PC-7 reports were based on tabulations of a sample of about 0.1 percent of the population (150,000 persons) and differ somewhat from the final figures because of sampling variability. Furthermore, other differences appear because the preliminary figures did not include all the refinements that resulted from detailed examination of the schedules in the preparation of the final data.

Current Population Reports

The Bureau of the Census conducts every month the Current Population Survey covering a sample of 25,000 households throughout the country. This survey has been in operation since April 1940 and has provided national estimates of the employment status of the population (Current Population Reports, Series P-57, "The Monthly Report on the Labor Force"). The distribution of employed workers by major occupation group is included each quarter in this series; and statistics on other subjects, such as marital status, school enrollment, mobility of the population, and income, are collected in the Current Population Survey and published annually in other series of Current Population Reports. The intercensal statistics provided by the Current Population Survey are, in general, designed to be comparable with the data for the United States obtained in the decennial population censuses. Discussion of the comparability of specific statistics is presented below under "Population characteristics."


Following the 18 text tables (tables AS), which give selected summary data, are the detailed tables published originally in the Series P-A, P-B, and P-C summary bulletins. They were numbered in such a way as to provide a continuous series when bound together in this volume. Thus tables 1 to 33 present data on the number of inhabitants, tables 34 to 93 present data on general characteristics of the population, and tables 94 to 185 present the detailed data on the characteristics of the population. The general content of the tables in Chapter B and Chapter C is indicated in the outlines on pp. vIII to x.


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is not necessarily the same as his legal residence, voting residence, or domicile, although, in the vast majority of cases, the use of these different bases of classification would produce identical results.

In the application of this rule, persons were not always counted as residents of the places in which they happened to be found by the census enumerators. Persons in continental United States and Hawaii in places where guests usually pay for quarters (hotels, etc.) were enumerated on the night of April 11, and those whose usual place of residence was elsewhere were allocated to their homes. Visitors found staying in private homes, however, were not ordinarily interviewed there. Information on persons away from their usual place of residence was obtained from other members of their families, landladies, etc. If an entire family was expected to be away during the whole period of the enumeration, information on it was obtained from neighbors. A matching process was used to eliminate duplicate reports for persons who reported for themselves while away and were also reported by their families at home.

Persons in the armed forces quartered on military installations were enumerated as residents of the States, counties, and minor civil divisions in which their installations were located. Members of their families were enumerated where they actually resided. In the 1950 Census, college students living away from home were considered residents of the communities in which they were residing while attending college, rather than as persons temporarily absent from their parental homes as was the practice in 1940. In 1950 the crews of vessels of the American Merchant Marine in harbors of the United States were counted as part of the population of the ports in which their vessels were berthed on April 1, 1950. Crews of American vessels on the high seas or in foreign ports were included in the population abroad; in 1940 crews of American vessels were treated as part of the population of the port from which the vessel operated, regardless of the location of the vessel on April 1, 1940. Inmates of institutions, who ordinarily live there for long periods of time, were counted as inhabitants of the place in which the institution was located; whereas patients in general hospitals, who ordinarily stay for a short time, were counted at, or allocated to, their homes. All persons without a usual place of residence were counted where they were enumerated.

Coverage of Citizens of Foreign Countries

Citizens of foreign countries temporarily visiting or traveling in the United States or living on the premises of an embassy, ministry, legation, chancellery, or consulate were not enumerated. Citizens of foreign countries having their usual residence in the United States as defined above, including those working here (but not living at an embassy, etc.) and those attending school (but not living at an embassy, etc.), were included in the enumeration,

Date of Enumeration

The date of enumeration for the Decennial Censuses of 1950, 1940, and 1930 was April 1 in accordance with the requirements of the Fifteenth Census Act. The Census of 1920 was taken as of January 1 and that of 1910 was taken as of April 15. For the decennial censuses between 1830 and 1900, the date of enumeration was June 1 and in the period 1790 to 1830 the census date was the first Monday in August. The enumeration date April 1 was selected for recent censuses as a date on which the number of persons away from home would be at a minimum and on which the weather conditions favor rather than impede the field work.

Enumeration for the 1950 Census of Population began on April 1, 1950. Two-thirds of the population had been enumerated by mid-April, nine-tenths by the end of the month. This much of the canvass was just about on schedule. Unfavorable weather conditions in certain parts of the country delayed the beginning of enumeration, in some areas to as late as mid-May. Nevertheless, by the end of June all but one percent of the enumeration had been completed.

The fact that the enumeration is spread over a period of weeks, rather than made on a single day, creates certain problems with respect to coverage. Thus, some persons who move during the enumeration period may be missed altogether, since the area in which they originally lived may not be canvassed before they move and enumeration may be completed in the area of their new home by the time they arrive. Conversely, there is the possibility of duplicate enumeration, once at the initial residence and once at their new home. It seems probable, however, that the net result is an underenumeration of these movers. Again, enumerators tend to ignore the explicit date of enumeration and to record information as of the date of their visit. Therefore, in spite of instructions, some infants are included in the census who were born after the census date, and some persons who died after April 1 are excluded.

Area of Enumeration

In the 1950 Census the areas enumerated were as follows: continental United States, the Territories of Alaska and Hawaii, American Samoa, the Canal Zone, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands of the United States, and some of the smaller islands and island groups. Certain of the minor possessions, however, were not enumerated; the figures on their population were obtained as far as possible from other sources. (See table 1.)

The 1950 Census also made special provision for the enumeration of members of the armed forces of the United States abroad and their dependents living with them, civilian American citizens employed by the United States Government abroad and their dependents living with them, and the crews of vessels in the American Merchant Marine on the high seas or in foreign ports. This phase of the enumeration was made possible through cooperative arrangements with the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the United States Maritime Administration, and other Federal agencies concerned, whereby these agencies took the responsibility for the distribution and collection of specially designed census reports for individuals and households. Other persons who were only temporarily abroad were supposed to have been reported by their families or neighbors in the United States. Only scattered voluntary reports could be obtained for private citizens who were abroad for a long period of time; this class is not covered by any of the published statistics.

The data in the 1950 Census on the population abroad are the most comprehensive ever obtained in a decennial census. In 1940,

for example, the War and Navy Departments gave information to the Bureau of the Census on the number of their personnel stationed abroad; and the State Department furnished the number

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